I received an interesting phone call from a customer a few days ago. Her situation was particularly interesting because she has both Plantar Fasciitis as well as Neuropathy. She has worn MBT shoes for several years, and it greatly helped her Plantar Fasciitis. She was actually looking for a new boot that she could wear in sloppy weather but was concerned about how her MBTs would hold up in snow.
This set off all sorts of red flags in my head, for a variety of reasons:
1) MBTs are not designed for people with neuropathy. When you have sensory loss in your feet, your balance is adversely affected. Wearing a shoe that provides natural instability creates a huge risk of you falling. As a result, MBT does not recommend its shoes for people with neuropathy.
2) MBT shoes, even the GTX models, are really not designed for tromping around in the snow. Yes, they are waterproof, but they do not provide the level of traction that a bona-fide snow boot does. So yes, you can wear your MBT shoes out in sloppy weather, but I’d stick to regular snow boots if you’ve got any level of accumulation on the ground.
3) Neuropathy sufferers really need stable shoes. Regardless of what caused the Neuropathy, those folks should look for the same types of shoes as those folks with Diabetes. Generally, you should look for: a MILD rocker sole (to help propel you forward) but with a stable heel, and a high, wide toe box so that your toes won’t rub against the shoe. Any shoe with a lot of support is also excellent. Look for shoes that are soft and with cushioning if possible. It’s also helpful to find a shoe that can accommodate custom orthotics, just in case.
Generally, any shoe that is rated HPCPS (Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System) A5500 compliant is acceptable for Diabetics under Medicare and Medicaid. These are fine choices for people with Neuropathy and Plantar Fasciitis as well due to their excellent supportive properties.
Finding shoes that help both of these medical conditions can be a challenge, but Footwear etc. carries a bunch of shoes that are worth considering.
Drew Shoes are specifically designed for Diabetics, but also have many of the supportive properties needed for those with Plantar Fasciitis. Available for men and women, they come in a wide variety of styles.
Finding slippers for Plantar Fasciitis as well as Neuropathy is a little tricky. While they are not specifically rated for Diabetics, the Orthaheel slippers are definite possibilities. I would suggest you try them on and see if you have enough toe space for these to work for Neuropathy patients. They definitely have good supportive properties and can help Plantar Fasciitis. Qwaruba makes some front and side wrap slippers that are definitely gentle for your feet, although they are not particularly supportive. If you’re not going to do a lot of walking, these could be beneficial.
New Balance makes some great athletic shoes that address both of these issues. I would particularly look at the models that have the HPCPS A5500 rating. I particularly like the New Balance MW927BK walking shoe (and the corresponding WW927BK for women). It’s very stable, has a roll bar for motion control, is lightweight, and has great cushioning and support. This is a great all-around shoe.
Don’t assume that the products needed to alleviate Plantar Fasciitis and Neuropathy symptoms are mutually exclusive. There are a variety of shoes out there that can be beneficial. Try different types of shoes to see what works best for you!